Representatives of the Russian airline Aeroflot have said that it is reasonable for the female flight attendants to face financial penalties if they are deemed overweight.
Following two recent lawsuits, two Aeroflot representatives at a press conference on 25 April attempted to justify the airline's alleged policing of its female employees' appearance, reports the Guardian.
The two flight attendants took the airline to court in recent weeks, alleging that the airline moved them from prestigious long-haul flights to lower-paid domestic routes because of their physical appearance.
Evgenia Magurina, one of the complainants, claimed that last year all Aeroflot flight attendants were photographed, measured and in some cases weighed. Women who did not meet the requirements were withdrawn from international routes.
The airline won both the court cases and insisted in a statement in February that it never discriminated on the basis of appearance, age or weight and that all of Magurina's allegations were baseless.
However, on Tuesday, the two Aeroflot representatives appeared to tacitly acknowledge that such a policy was indeed in place.
Aeroflot is a premium airline and part of the reason people pay for tickets is the appearance of its employees," said Pavel Danilin, a member of the airline's public council.
He said a survey of Aeroflot passengers showed that "92% want to see stewardesses who fit into the clothes sizes we are talking about here."
Another member of Aeroflot's public council Nikita Krichevsky said the penalties should not be seen as a salary docking but as an incentive to lose weight.
Krichevsky said if they didn't like the conditions they should resign, and added that it should be easy for them to lose weight.
Later on 25 April, Aeroflot said in a statement that the two men had appeared at the press conference "on their own initiative" and their comments did not necessarily reflect the airline's position.